These include hearing protection for us, a well-designed cooler to keep quail breasts fresh, a first-aid kit for minor injuries and a litany of other products. Some things just function as good, cheap insurance for a quality hunt and will serve to keep our four-legged hunting partners healthy throughout.
Check out the following essentials every bird-dog owner should own.
The key to a good bumper is durability. Enter the Hexabumper with its 10-inch floating throw rope and multiple color options, including white, orange, and black/white flasher. Six flat sides provide an easy grip for dogs of all sizes (choose from two- or three-inch options), and VGrips promote soft mouth and a superior hold.
$7-$11 | averysportingdog.com
Good luck finding another dummy that trains with every retrieve the way a DFT does. There simply isn't a better option if you want your dog to learn how to retrieve birds by the middle while resisting the age-old urge to shake the crap out of birds during every retrieve. With the Pheasant, I like to add a Power Throw Grip so I can really toss the dummy. Add some of Dokken's wax-based training scent to further increase the productivity of each training session.
$26 | deadfowltrainer.com
NUTRAMAX COSEQUIN ASU SPORT
Your hunt for the right joint health supplement is over! Help support the joint and pad health of your sporting dog with Cosequin ASU Sport. Patented combinations of ingredients help deliver joint support, while biotin helps support pad health and integrity, was well as a healthy coat. Whether it's through the fields or in the woods, use Cosequin ASU Sport to help keep your dog moving!
$27 | cosequinsport.com
DOGS UNLIMITED PRIMER PISTOL
The easiest way to train for introduction to gunfire with any pup has traditionally been with a blank pistol. That was, until you couldn't find .22 blanks anymore. A remedy to that problem is the FieldKing 209, which weighs only 16 ounces, features an easy-to-handle orange grip, and holds six 209 primers. This stainless steel training necessity also comes with a lifetime warranty, ensuring years of quality training drills.
$280 | dogsunlimited.com
SPORTDOG BRAND TEK 2.0 BLUETOOTH
No, he's not on a business call, he's keeping tabs on a pair of big-running English pointers. SportDOG Brand just made keeping track of your dogs a lot easier with Bluetooth capability for the TEK 2.0. Simply download a free software update, and the unit delivers real-time audio on the location of your bird dog.
GUN DOG HOUSE DOOR
Let pup come and go as he pleases with a weather-tight and energy-efficient dog door that uses heavy-duty spring hinges. Several options are available, all of which feature a die-cast aluminum frame and 1/4-inch clear plexiglass. Perhaps the best part about Gun Dog House Doors is they are easy to install, which makes this a breeze of a DIY project that will make any bird-dog owner's life much simpler.
$98-$138 | gundoghousedoor.com
GUN DOG SUPPLY
If Gun Dog Supply doesn't carry it, your dog probably doesn't need it. This comprehensive site offers stellar deals on dog-training must-haves like the latest e-collars and containment systems, leads and leashes, dog houses and puppy-training supplies. They also offer dummies of nearly every variety, dummy launchers and all of the equipment to enhance each training drill, like starter pistols and blanks. To ensure a true one-stop-shopping experience, Gun Dog Supply also offers blinds, vests, jackets, whistles, lanyards and pretty much anything else you could possibly need to train or hunt your dog.
By the time you realize hearing damage has been done, it's too late. That's why quality ear protection is critical. These high-tech hearing protectors feature basic auto environmental controls so you can balance the outdoor noises like wind. Digital sound quality is excellent thanks to the usage of two channels and a dozen bands, not to mention the advanced feedback control, which further enhances user experience.
$2,100 | espamerica.com
OUTDOOR SAFETY PRO MODEL 2000
At the very least, do yourself a favor and keep an extensive first-aid kit in your truck. Hunting dogs face fences, porcupines and a bevy of potential injuries every time they sprint through a pheasant field or head out in quail country. A perfect option for all upland hunters is the Pro Model 2000 from Outdoor Safety. This 70-piece kit includes WoundSeal, a skin stapler, tick remover, digital thermometer, a SAM splint and a host of other necessities. The complete kit weighs only four pounds and will fit under the passenger seat of your hunting truck.
$100 | outdoorsafety.net
HOWLING DOG ALASKA SPOTTER
Three sizes of The Spotter are available to cover everything from spaniels to beefy Labs. This is an ideal chest protector/vest for dogs hunting fields during colder or inclement weather thanks to the durable yet soft fabric used in its construction that is not only windproof, but also repels snow and rain. In addition to protecting your upland dog's chest, The Spotter might also protect him from careless hunters due to the two color choices offered in crimson red and orange.
$35 | howlingdogalaska.com
LION COUNTRY SUPPLY REMOTE BACKING DOG
Of all of the products LCS offers, perhaps the coolest is the Remote Backing Dog. This handy tool allows you to train your pointer to back, honor or stop when he sees another dog pointing. It operates on a rechargeable 12-volt battery, weighs 35 pounds, and can be operated at up to half-mile away with the eight-button transmitter. For easy transport, the Remote Backing Dog folds down to 24" wide and 20" long and is designed with a built-in carrying handle.
$430 | lcsupply.com
MASTER'S VOICE GUNSHY CURE SYSTEM
If there is one aspect of bird-dog training that professionals handle with the utmost care, it's gunfire introduction because once it's done wrong, reversing the affliction is tremendously difficult. If you should find yourself with a dog that is gunshy, the best bet just might be to pick up the two-disc Gunshy Cure System from Master's Voice. This unique remedy uses state-of-the-art behavior modification methods to help your gunshy pup. Each audio segment features gradually increasing-in-volume gunfire to ensure a level of comfort with the sound.
$30 | mastersvoice-dog.com
OAK CREEK LANYARD
For the upland hunters who sometimes take to the water for their bird-hunting fix, Oak Creek Kennels offers a killer lanyard in the form of their Five Duck Loop One Whistle Custom Lanyard. This eight-strand braided lanyard is handcrafted from high-quality kangaroo leather and is designed to hold every call you'll need along with a whistle to keep your dog in check. Customization is available for this lanyard through the litany of color choices offered.
$195 | leatherlanyards.com
PEREGRINE TREKKER VEST
Most of our blaze orange lasts only a season or two before it turns to tatters. But the Trekker from Peregrine will be the last vest you buy--it comes with a lifetime warranty. Equipped with dual transmitter pockets, large game pouch and a rear rucksack for extra storage, this is the perfect vest for dog handlers. There are also two water bottle holders and magnetic-closing pockets to keep ammo and gear secure.
SYLMAR DOGWEAR BODY GUARD DOG VEST
Whether your upland bird dog weighs 25 pounds or 100, Sylmar has a vest that will protect him from all of the potential nastiness that good hunting cover can offer. Each Body Guard Dog Vest is constructed with 500 denier cordura rip stop nylon with an additional layer of this tough material incorporated into the chest and body plate. Better yet, you can choose from either high-vis yellow or orange to ensure that your dog is visible no matter how thick it gets.
$42 | www.sylmardogwear.com
PELICAN 55QT TAILGATER
Designed with easy access and mobility thanks to its telescoping handle and heavy-duty wheels, you can keep limits of pheasants cold until you get home. The Tailgater is built to military standards with its polymer exterior walls and thick polyurethane foam core. After your hunt is over, simply pull the threaded plug and spray it out with a garden hose.
$450 | pelican.com
Worth every penny, the soft-sided Hopper lineup comes in 20, 30 and 40 The 20 is great for trips, which utilizes Coldcell insulation to keep everything from beverages to bird breasts cold for days. If the 20 is too small, check out the 30 or 40, all of which are now available in the new Field Tan color.
$300-$400 | yeticoolers.com